Thursday, March 26, 2009

Question of the Day #141

This weekend, there's a party for two of my girlfriends' birthdays, and I'm cooking. It's a lot of people and a lot of food, so I'm starting tonight by making Granny's Meatballs.

My Granny was an extraordinary cook. Because her cooking was more like magic than science, she never measured anything. And throughout my life, I had the pleasure of helping and watching her.

Those moments in the kitchen were precious. She'd lean up against the sink, washing broccoli and cauliflower. She'd point to the garlic and instruct me to smash it first, then peel it. All the while telling me stories.

Like the one about her date with Frank Sinatra, when she didn't have any shoes that matched her dress, so she quick-dyed them and spent the night mortified because the dye stunk. (Yes, that's a true story. They grew up together in Hoboken, NJ.)

While she stirred her famous Granny tomato sauce, she'd impart life lessons like, "Suzanne, don't ever settle. It's far better for you to be by yourself than with the wrong man."

Silence sat warmly with us too. She'd brown her delicious meatballs and plop them in a giant pot of sauce, one by one, and then she'd turn to me, raise her eyebrows, giggle and wrap me up in a giant Granny hug.

So today, as I chop, saute, brown and simmer, I'll think of her as I cook her specialties.

What special kitchen memories do you have?



  1. I remember cooking with my mother when I was a child and it's something I've tried to teach my children. This past summer they learned to make burritos, mac and cheese, grilled cheese...simple foods to make themselves. And of course the love to bake, or at least mix up the batter and eat it raw! It can get messy, but having children in the kitchen is so much fun!

  2. I remember going to my Grandmother's house for breakfast on some Sundays. She would make waffles on her old waffle iron and serve them with country sausage and molasses. I would help her cook.

    I was gone in the military when she died so I didn't get to see her off. When I returned, most of her things were gone but the few things that remained were in little piles with labels as to who they now belonged to. As I walked through her house remembering her and growing angry because if the arguments that had taken place over her things, I spied that old Waffle Iron in one of the piles. I was her favorite grandchild and I spent more time with her than anyone else in the family. I took the waffle iron along with a huge woden bowl that she used to make salads in. I still have them today.

  3. What a great picture! I think you resemble her a bit! And Frank Sinatra!!
    My kitchen memories involve my grandma too. Not so much cooking together, but how much I loved her meals. I now make many of her recipes.

  4. She's gorgeous and I can see you take after her. What a lovely kitchen memory and I totally agree with her motto of don't ever settle.
    My favorite kitchen time is also with my grandmother who made the best from scratch biscuits you could put in your mouth. Alas, althogh I'd watch carefully and do everything she told me to do, mine always came out like bricks. Not my calling.

  5. What a strange coincidence! I just finished making Arroz Con Pollo to take to my son and his wife! I asked what they would like for their birthday dinners( asked them separately) and they both responded with my mother's specialty!
    The minute you walked in the door of her house the aroma would put a big smile on your face.

  6. My favorite kitchen memories are with you Suz! Whether it was watching you prepare for a huge party, slicing whatever needed slicing or keeping people out of your way while you whizzed around the kitchen, I loved every second of it! xo ...oh & I never realized how much you look like Granny ;)

  7. How fabulous. I love that story.

    My five-year-old decided that he would make his uncle a birthday cake this year. He let me help. It's my new favorite kitchen memory.

  8. Wow, a famous Grandma,and a beautitul lady too. I wish I had fond memories but my Mother's mom died when I was little and my Father's Mom, wasn't very nurturing.
    Fortunately, my Mom was loving and caring and close to me, and taught me how to entertain.

  9. What a wonderful story, Suzanne. I have fond memories of sleeping over at my grandparent's house and then watching them go through their routine of making bacon & eggs for breakfast in the morning. That along with snapping green beans with them on the porch. :)

  10. I can see where your granny instilled a love of the kitchen in you. I don't really have any fond memories of the kitchen and I don't really like to cook. If I make an effort I can recall making cookies with my dad and enjoying that. Interestingly enough I do love to bake. I'm creating my own fond memories with my children. The day I brought Z home from the hospital I made brownies with O. Even though I was recovering from a cesarean I wanted to do something fun with her. What's more fun than brownies?

  11. Cooking or baking together with family or friends is always great fun. My special kitchen memories include every scene of these precious moments.

  12. Your granny is a very beautiful woman and I can see her resembling in you :).


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